What can it be that calls Sarah Silverman to a 70-plus-piece orchestra? The chance to record a song with modern Disney legend Alan Menken, which doesn’t come around as often as you’d think.
A contender on the shortlist for Best Original Song at this year’s Oscars, “A Place Called Slaughter Race” is Menken’s latest contribution to the Disney musical canon, custom-written for Silverman’s pixelated princess Vanellope in Ralph Breaks the Internet. The song pops up as an unexpected showstopper in the middle of Disney’s animated sequel, which itself debuted as a critically-adored surprise in November with a three-week run at No. 1 at the box office.
For Silverman, recording an original song with Menken (who wrote her favorite musical, Little Shop of Horrors) was a dream in and of itself… and for video proof of that excitement, you can watch EW’s exclusive peek behind the scenes at the recording session that brought Silverman’s performance and Menken’s music to life.
Among the many pieces that elevate the song (like Gal Gadot’s musical appearance as Vanellope’s racing mentor, Shank), “Slaughter Race” and its lyrics by Phil Johnston and Tom MacDougall serve as a deconstruction of Menken’s own work while still doing what his songs do best: reveal the deepest emotional truth of a character to be so fundamentally strong, it can’t be expressed any other way than with a full musical orchestra and a big ol’ song.
Ralph Breaks the Internet is in theaters now.